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March 2015 Newsletter

Earth Day Cleanup April 11th 
10 a.m. - 12 p.m.


Join the Maryland Coastal Bays Program and the Ocean City Surf Club to clean up Ocean City at 10 a.m. on Saturday April 11th . We will be meeting volunteers at the 3rd street gazebo next to Town Hall (101 3rd Street, Ocean City MD) to assign clean up areas and hand out gloves, trash bags, and t-shirts.  

Thanks to our volunteers!
With help from our community volunteers and Maryland Conservation Corps crews we removed bagworms from 6,500 Atlantic White Cedar trees this winter. This would not have been possible without our volunteers!

Gunpowder MCC crew working in the rain!
New Islands


An Army Corps of Engineering project is building new islands in Maryland's coastal bays for the first time since the storm of 1933 created the Ocean City Inlet.  Islands such as these are important nesting habitat for waterbirds such as common and royal terns and black skimmers.

To read more about the new islands from Rachael Pacella of DelmarvaNow click here.


Pictured above the newest island, Collier. Photo taken from shore at Captain's Hill thoroughfare.  


MCBP Chimes In On Offshore Drilling



In January the Department of the Interior proposed opening up the Mid-Atlantic and South east to oil drilling. Three central elements of the Coastal Bays Comprehensive Conservation and Management Plan include addressing the impacts of climate change, encouraging tourism, and protecting biodiversity. Oil drilling could have a dramatic effect on each of these.


The Delaware, Maryland and Virginia coastal area is a delicate system, critical to tourism, regional biodiversity, and the fish and shellfish industries. Tourism alone in Worcester Count is a $2 billion/yr boon for Maryland's economy. This far exceeds any estimated revenue potentially coming to the State of Maryland from the proposed offshore leases in the Atlantic. As seen in the gulf, the risk to this revenue posed by offshore drilling is great.  


A third of Maryland's Chincoteague Bay lies in Virginia (a primary oil company target) where an inlet opens the entire bay to ocean waters.  Oil spills, trash from offshore drill platforms, and releases of fracking waste will not respect state boundary lines. All summer long wind drives ocean currents run south to north.


Moreover, Assateague Island and the barrier islands of Virginia's Eastern Shore represent the largest swath of undeveloped coastal wilderness on the East Coast. 


The Atlantic Geological and Geophysical (G&G) Activities Programmatic Environmental Impact Statement estimates 138,000 whales and dolphins could be impacted by seismic testing in the Atlantic and some killed. There are more than a dozen species of dolphins, whales, and seals off the Ocean City coast. Commercial and recreational fishing in Mid-Atlantic is also a $3.5 billion dollar industry. If seismic testing in our local waters has similar effects to fisheries as those witnessed around the globe, it would be a serious blow to this revenue.


According to the Bureau of Ocean Energy Management, the entire Atlantic would only provide 16 months of oil and 36 months of gas. Oil and gas development in new areas would require seismic surveys, drilling operations, oil transport tankers, and the installation of platforms, pipelines, and other infrastructure.  With so many alternatives it's hard to understand why the feds are still pursuing carbon-heavy industries.


Development of offshore wind on the East Coast could generate up to 140 gigawatts of power over the next 20 years, which is enough to power over 115 million households.Offshore wind would create about 91,000 more jobs than offshore drilling.


For the reasons stated above, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program has requested the Mid-Atlantic and South Atlantic planning areas be removed from BOEM's 2011-2022 Draft Proposed Plan.


Our Working Forests


I was recently asked to sit on the Citizens Advisory Committee for the Maryland Coastal Bay program. I really had to think about it for a while. Now that I'm "a bit" older and have begun to wean myself of the various organizational duties I've taken on over the years I just wasn't sure I needed to take on anything new. I've always tried to carry the very positive message in regards to the interdependence between our forests, a healthy forest economy, and healthy watersheds. After all of these years, the message is the same, yet the audience changes so the need to spread this message never goes away. In fact, it's more important than ever as the general public become more and more removed from what makes our rural landscape so special. So here I find myself in the early morning after my first Coastal Bay CAC Citizens Advisory Committee meeting giving it one more try!


As I have been beating around forests here on the Eastern Shore for quite some time now, it always amazes me when I get off the beaten path in the back portion of a working farm, the "lower forty", the wonderful (and sometimes neglected, not so wonderful) forests I find. As the name "lower forty" implies, much of this forestland is on land that may have not been suitable for agriculture or development. Often, it is somewhat lower and wetter than the developed land that surrounds it, yet it still supports such a valuable part of our landscape: Our working forests.

While considered lower value land by many, measured by all of the benefits our forests provide they truly are the most valuable part of our landscape by so many measures that go far beyond dollars and cents. They work 24/7 providing clean air, clean water, wildlife habitat, and just a great place to get out and "away from it all". Of course, a well-managed forest, while providing all of these benefits, also can provide an income from harvested products that help pay for the cost of ownership... and then some.


A well-managed forest that can maximize all of these attributes takes some planning: From planning harvests to planning to do little of anything to protect or enhance wildlife habitat or water quality. A good Sustainable Forestry Management Plan is something all forest landowners should pursue, one that is tailored to their own specific goals and objectives. If you have some neglected forestland on your property, call your local DNR County Forester, or go online and seek out a local forestry consultant that can help you with your forestry needs. After all, like the faded bumper sticker on my old Jeep Pick-up exclaims, "A Healthy Forest is no Accident!", and the less faded sticker I have on my newer Ford Escape simply says, "Trees are the Answer", and that they truly are for the myriad of environmental issues facing our Coastal Bay ecology, and resource based economy. 


Larry Walton is a consultant with Vision Forestry, l.l.c.  He is also a member of MCBP's Citizen Advisory Committee. 


Paddleboard Raffle to Benefit MCBP





March 2015

Bishopville Restoration
WBOC Story

Check out MCBP's Project coordinator Amanda Poskatis discussing the Bishopville restoration project by

Coastal Steward participates in 
Selma to Montgomery 

Coastal Steward Lester Franklin of Salisbury was one of only seventy students chosen to participate in the Selma to Montgomery.

USA Today states "Lester Franklin, who marched from Selma to Montgomery, walked with flowers stuck in his three-inch beard, describing the scene for a radio program back in Maryland.

When the Capitol came into sight, the crowd broke into cheers again. Strangers linked arms and sang, "We Shall Overcome." Some of them unknowingly lined up with people such as Teddi Harshaw who walked from St. Jude to the capitol in 1965 with the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr."


USA Today's article and video is available here.

Herp Search May 9


Save the Date! Join the Maryland Coastal Bays Program for a herptile (reptile and amphibian) search on Saturday, May 9th.   This spring time activity is great way to participate in citizen science while enjoying good company and the great outdoors. More information will be included in the next newsletter.  Please email Jen Rafter at if you are interested in participating. 


Pictured above, expert Jim Rapp handles a harmless plain-bellied water snake.


Terrapin Survey
Volunteers Needed

The Maryland Coastal Bays are home to northern diamondback terrapins, a turtle species whose population status is not well understood. Evidence of the variety of threats facing terrapins suggests that our iconic Maryland terrapin might be in trouble. With the help of citizen scientists, the Maryland Coastal Bays Program aims to create a source of information on local terrapin habits to aide scientists in the conservation of this significant and majestic species.

We are looking for volunteers to assist with a citizen science survey from Tuesday, May 26th through Saturday, May 30th. 
Participate one or several days.  

All volunteers are  welcome.  Boats are needed. There are options for kayak and land bound/shore surveys as well. If you would like to participate in the Diamondback Terrapin Survey in the coastal bays please email Jennifer Rafter at or call 410-213-2297 x 109. 

Huffington Post Article Highlights MCBP & Coastal Stewards

 Check it out! Maryland Coastal Bays Program & Coastal Stewards get a shout-out in Huffington Post, thanks to Marianne Krasney. "Representing the Maryland Coastal Bays Program, Carrie Samis shared her work with Coastal Stewards -- youth, primarily from communities of color -- who plant native grasses to recreate "soft shorelines" that absorb run-off and protect beaches. Because these and others assembled in Annapolis care for nature and community, my Cornell University colleague Keith Tidball and I call them 'civic ecology stewards.' And we call their actions 'civic ecology practices.' ... Brandeis University sociologist Carmen Sirianni sees civic ecology practices as part of a larger civic renewal movement. He noted that the coalitions of stewardship organizations working together on watershed and other restoration projects build participants' civic capacity to engage in additional civic actions. And through forming partnerships with larger non-profits and government agencies, these efforts can influence local and sometimes regional or even national environmental policy."

To read the article click here. 

Volunteers needed for 
marsh bird survey

One of our partners needs your help! Assateague National Seashore is looking for volunteers to survey secretive marsh birds (rails and bitterns) in tidal marshes. For more information click here.


Recent Articles



Visit MCBP at These Events!

3rd Friday - Flora & Fauna!

April 17, 2015

5 pm - 8 pm

Downtown Salisbury, MD


Earth Day at the Salisbury Zoo

April 25, 2015

10 am - 4 pm

Salisbury, MD


45th Ward World Championship Wildfowl Carving Competition and Art Festival

April 24-26, 2015

Roland E. Powell Convention Center

Ocean City, MD


20th Annual Delmarva Birding Weekend

April 23-26, 2015

Various Locations

Tree Planting at Nassawango

Join the National Aquarium Conservation Team (ACT!) and plant Atlantic white cedar seedlings at Nassawango Creek Preserve in Salisbury, MD. This tree species is considered rare in the state of Maryland.  By helping to plant these seedlings, you are helping to restore Nassawango Creek Preserve to its original state as a cedar swamp!  Pre-registration is required at  Volunteers must be 10 years old to participate, and any volunteers under the age of 18 must be accompanied by a participating adult.  Please contact with any questions.



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